If you’ve been keeping tabs on Tamaryn this year, you’ll know that it’s churlish to expect anything like The Garden or any of her fuzz-heavy back catalogue. Cranekiss instead comes with some rather exceptional dream-pop, with both the title track and 80s-indebted power-pop jam Hands All Over Me already being up there with her career best.
If the opening of Cranekiss sounds a bit like Haerts, it might be something to do with the New Zealand native’s prolonged time in New York. No bad thing, of course – that lean towards synth-pop is very much a sonic theme throughout the record, but the way Tamaryn contorts it to match her old shoegaze sensibilities is remarkable. It’s most apparent on a song like Last, which traverses low, grungey octaves till an absolute side-swipe of a chorus that takes on the other extreme with admirable ease.
Even though the guitars are traded in for samples, synths, and cloistered loops, Tamaryn suddenly feels most at home on Cranekiss. Which is why we wish she’d stuck to it a bit more in the second half of the album, given her forays back into old territory on songs like Softcore and Fade Away Slow stand out as ill-fitting on a largely cohesive body of work. Still, there’s clarity here even in her most smoky delivery, right the way to the haunting finale. If you’ve ignored Tamaryn up till now, you certainly won’t have that luxury after this solid record.
Cranekiss by Tamaryn can be ordered here.